Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Let's have British repeats

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1984-08-04 Radio Times.jpg


Unlike your cartoonist on the Letters pages (14-20 July), I am pleased to see the return of Star Trek. I also welcome the repeats of other old programmes, such as The Twilight Zone, The Monkees, Starsky and Hutch and Rhoda. But why is it that while we get repeats of these old American programmes, the only British ones to be repeated are comparatively new?

On 19 July, for example, there was virtually a whole evening of repeats on BBC1. Why can't some of that time be devoted to programmes that were made more than five years ago? I'm sure there must be many people like me who would welcome the chance to see programmes either that they were too young to see or that they just don't remember ...

So instead of the current showing of repeats from last season's Doctor Who, why not rescreen some episodes featuring one of the earlier doctors? Or how about showing the first series of Blake's Seven? Or, to go even further back, why not show the Quatermass series? As well as The Twilight Zone we could have Out of the Unknown, and alongside Starsky and Hutch we could have Softly, Softly. Channel Four, unpopular though it may be with some people, has given us The Avengers, The Prisoner and Callan; surely the BBC has some equally worthy offerings?

Elaine Jones

Bath, Avon

ROGER CARY, Chief Assistant to Director of Programmes, Television, replies:

The BBC has carefully worked-out arrangements for the ordinary repeating of BBC-made drama from all periods. It cannot usually repeat a drama that is more than two years old (say, a play or an old edition of Doctor Who) without special agreement with the unions for what are called 'out-of-time repeats'. In recent years the BBC has been able to negotiate for these more successfully than in the past hence, for example, the reshowing lately of many editions of Porridge. However, there are still only few opportunities for this procedure to be followed in any one year, while such repeats are nowadays nearly as expensive as new programme originations.

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